In late 2010/early 2011, the various “Arab Springs” brought a glimmer of hope for democracy and human rights in North Africa and the Near East, but, with these developments coming to a sudden end in a number of countries (Libya, Egypt and Syria in particular), a period of instability and violence has opened up, enabling Islamist groups to prosper against a backdrop of civil war in Syria and declining government power in Iraq. In this regard, the case of Daesh is emblematic. Created in 2006 and almost unknown until 2012, this self-proclaimed Islamic State group has gradually expanded across Iraqi and Syrian territory, establishing a caliphate in the various regions conquered and becoming, partly through very vigorous media activity and propaganda, a major regional actor, albeit a pariah organization that many states would like to see disappear.
Yet, as Matthieu Anquez shows here in this piece of political fiction, the worst-case scenario cannot be ruled out. What would happen if, for want of adequate international coordination, Daesh were, by exploiting the chaotic state of the region, to overturn the current political order and take power in Saudi Arabia, for example? In unfolding the script of such a scenario, Anquez points up the failings and weaknesses that might possibly enable it to come about. However, this foresight exercise may also serve as a warning and encourage the various regional and international actors to equip themselves to combat Daesh. Given the reactions to the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015 (which occurred after this article was accepted for publication), let us hope that it will strengthen their conviction and motivate them to act as quickly as possible.